Friends, Some people have found the recent dialog series (re: Garden) useful. Someone posted an installment to Indymedia's website, and others have cross-posted excerpts to other lists, opening threads in other parts of cyberspace. I think the series has been a worthwhile exercise. Indeed, several people have told me, over the years, that they find responses to questions more interesting, more engaging, than essays. One woman even suggested that a book in Q&A format might be a good idea. Given that "Returning to the Garden" is my latest version of an online "book", the recent series is in some sense an implementation of her suggestion for a Q&A treatment. It begins online at: http://cyberjournal.org/cj/postings/?id='2179' --- But others have had negative reactions to the series. I ran across a subscriber at a Dublin conference, and he said he found the 'Q' parts distracting, diluting the value of the 'A' parts. His sentiments paralleled those of a subscriber X who wrote in: X > I want to thank you for the work you are doing. I have been subscribing to your list-serve for quite some months now and find your postings to be a beacon of light in a storm of misinformation, manufactured perceptions and general denial of reality. > 99% of your [dialog] postings are from people who miss the whole point or only have a grasp of a small portion of it. My impression is that anyone who might subscribe to your site would have come in with, at least, a "left" bias and some awareness of the issues you have been discussing. > If most of these people are missing the point, how can you feel that a growing mass movement will lead to a better world? Reader X, evidently, found the 'Q' parts to be discouraging, while the Dublin fellow found them to be distracting. Both seem to find my own material to be the most useful, at least for themselves. We must keep in mind that only a small minority of subscribers respond to postings. Those who don't understand, or who disagree, are the most likely to respond. In addition, there are many folks on the net eagerly pushing their own ideas, and they send in responses frequently - hoping to get air time. I don't believe the responses I get represent a fair characterization of reader feelings generally. --- All of this leads me to reconsider posting policy for the near future. Let me begin by stating my own personal goals at this time. I want to devote my efforts to contributing to the success of the movement, and I'd like these lists to serve that purpose as best they can. These kinds of movements don't come along very often, and if we can contribute, that seems like the best current use of our activist / political energies. If some of you aren't in agreement with this purpose, then please write in and let me know why. --- The obvious question then becomes, "How can we contribute?". Let's start with a brief assessment of the movement... I believe this particular movement has the ~potential~ to become a revolutionary movement and I believe the movement is in a strong growth phase. I also believe that the ~culture~ of this particular movement - decentralized, consensus-based, non-ideological, inclusive, radical - is promising. It has the ~potential~ to enable the movement to develop a sensible shared vision of a better world, and a sensible strategic framework for victory. And most important, the culture provides a robust vehicle for carrying out the strategy, and for avoiding co-option by a leadership clique with a private agenda. But that potential is far from realized at present. The movement is radical in its thinking about economics, democracy, and corporate power. But when it comes to getting results politically, the movement is not yet revolutionary - it is reformist. The movement is still focusing on protesting ~at~ the regime, and on trying to influence public opinion, in the sense of electoral politics. In terms of vision & goals, the movement is engaged in discussions, as at the World Social Forum. But the movement is not yet carrying on these discussions closer to the grass roots, nor is it seeking explicitly to achieve a consensus vision of what can replace the current system. When activists go back home from a major event, they typically resume their special-cause efforts - worthwhile in themselves, but not usually contributing that much to building movement consensus around strategy & vision. --- How can we. as a 'list community', help move this scenario forward? And how can I, as moderator and as writer, best contribute? If any of you have answers to offer, please let me know. In the meantime permit me to suggest two possible avenues we could pursue. The ~first avenue~ I would call 'Messages to the movement', and it involves the essays I post from time to time. My thought here is that these essays should be targeted at the movement generally, rather than to the members of these lists in particular. I'd be saying the same things, but I wouldn't include so many quotes from subscribers, and I wouldn't assume the reader is familiar with our recent discussions. As a subscriber, you'd get the same value, hopefully, but these postings would be more suitable for forwarding to other lists, and might in that way find their way into some segment of 'movement consciousness'. I know many subscribers are activists, and involved in the movement, and there is some hope for making a contribution in this way. If you agree with this avenue, then keep your finger near the 'Forward' key for those postings. I plan one soon on the subject, "Does the movement need an ideology?". The comments you send in will continue to play a role in these essays, from your ideas and from the questions you raise, but only brief excerpts would be included occasionally. There will also be forwarded items from other lists, and contributions from our subscribers, which are in this 'To: The Movement' category. The ~second avenue~ would be a discussion thread of our own on movement goals & strategy. Surprising as it may sound, I have not been able to find even one single forum - anywhere on the Internet - which is discussing either of these topics productively and in any depth. In fact, I find our own discussions here to be more useful than others I've seen. But we can do better. I invite you to put on your thinking caps, and to think creatively about how the movement might achieve victory, and about what kind of post-capitalist visions can be both practical, and appealing to a wide majority of the world's population. If we can get a creative, collaborative dialog going here, that too may be worth sharing with others. comments and participation invited, rkm http://cyberjournal.org btw> Thanks to several of you who have responded with ideas and leads re/ my own personal income needs. In fact, a few discussions have been opened up regarding technical work that might be of benefit to the movement. I hope these work out, as I'd feel much better working on those projects than doing jobs for corporations. Not that I wouldn't do work for corporations - most of us must - but even better to be making a living on the green side of the fence if possible. Again, many thanks for the responses.